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thug

[thuhg] /θʌg/
noun
1.
a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer.
2.
(sometimes initial capital letter) one of a former group of professional robbers and murderers in India who strangled their victims.
Origin
1800-1810
1800-10; < Hindi thag literally, rogue, cheat
Related forms
thuggery
[thuhg-uh-ree] /ˈθʌg ə ri/ (Show IPA),
noun
thuggish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for thug
  • It's often a puzzle to me how one plant can be well-behaved and valued in one area but a thug in another region.
  • Today he's staring at the face of a thug on the screen of his gunmetal-gray laptop.
  • His former image of brutal thug has turned into builder.
  • Pro basketball doesn't have a drug problem or a thug problem.
  • Until recently, central bankers thought that this thug had been locked up for life.
  • He was a flat-out, knee-crawling thug with the morals of a weasel on speed.
  • The only surprise ending in one of these conspiracy tales would be if the ultimate villain were some proletarian thug.
  • They got there because some drug thug is pushing them.
  • We didn't focus on the typical street level, standing on the corner, dope dealing thug.
  • Still, behind my back some of the line staff call me hug-a-thug.
British Dictionary definitions for thug

thug

/θʌɡ/
noun
1.
a tough and violent man, esp a criminal
2.
(sometimes capital) (formerly) a member of an organization of robbers and assassins in India who typically strangled their victims
Derived Forms
thuggery, noun
thuggish, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Hindi thag thief, from Sanskrit sthaga scoundrel, from sthagati to conceal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for thug
n.

1810, "member of a gang of murderers and robbers in India who strangled their victims," from Marathi thag, thak "cheat, swindler," Hindi thag, perhaps from Sanskrit sthaga-s "cunning, fraudulent," possibly from sthagayati "(he) covers, conceals," from PIE root *(s)teg- "cover" (see stegosaurus). Transferred sense of "ruffian, cutthroat" first recorded 1839. The more correct Indian name is phanseegur, and the activity was described in English as far back as c.1665. Rigorously prosecuted by the British from 1831, they were driven from existence, but the process extended over the rest of the 19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for thug

thag

member of a well-organized confederacy of professional assassins who traveled in gangs throughout India for several hundred years. (The earliest authenticated mention of the thugs is found in Ziya'-ud-Din Barani, History of Firuz Shah, dated about 1356.) The thugs would insinuate themselves into the confidence of wayfarers and, when a favourable opportunity presented itself, strangle them by throwing a handkerchief or noose around their necks. They then plundered and buried them. All this was done according to certain ancient and rigidly prescribed forms and after the performance of special religious rites, in which the consecration of the pickax and the sacrifice of sugar formed a prominent part. Although the thugs traced their origin to seven Muslim tribes, Hindus appear to have been associated with them at an early period; at any rate, their religious creed and practices as worshipers of Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, showed no influence of Islam. The fraternity possessed a jargon of its own (Ramasi) and signs by which its members recognized each other

Learn more about thag with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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